Cooking Light (March 2013)
A winter storm is whipping its way through the area, so we're inside the house, still wearing pajamas, and dreaming about warmer days. And pancakes. But mostly warmer days.
We've been troopers this winter -- not complaining about the cold (well, not complaining too much about the cold). But we're ready for change, for sun, for mornings that don't require four layers of clothing.
It's March. It's time.
And with dreams of spring weather come dreams of spring foods. We're craving them. Earlier this week, in a moment of spring desperation, we bought a pound of fresh snap peas from our supermarket. Though the quality wasn't great (nothing like the peas we'll see at farmers markets come April and May), they were good enough for us, steamed, with a simple drizzle of citrus -- a literal taste of spring.
Those same dreams of warmer days are what drew us to this Artichoke and Pea Sauté. It screams [use your best old timey voice here]: "Spring's a comin'!"
And the best part? The ingredients come from the freezer section.
So here's the good of this recipe: It's simple -- there are very few ingredients, the majority of which are very affordable (frozen artichokes and frozen peas). And it takes 10 minutes (at most) to prepare, so it's very quick. Fresh herbs -- parsley and mint -- are a nice, bright addition.
But here's the bad: The dish lacks a unifying element. This is one of those dishes where the whole is exactly equal to the sum of the parts.
We love frozen peas and eat them all the time. But we're not big artichoke consumers (whether fresh or frozen). We eat them and enjoy them when they're served to us, but we've rarely cooked with them. And we didn't love the artichokes in this sauté -- they just tasted bland, like ... well, like artichokes that had been defrosted and heated in a skillet.
We wanted something more. Maybe a warm vinaigrette to bring the dish together and give it more flavor?
This dish gets us a little closer to spring. We're just not there yet.
Ingredients2 teaspoons canola oil
3 cups frozen, quartered artichoke hearts, thawed (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon torn fresh mint
6 lemon wedges
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
Add artichokes; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove artichokes from pan.
Melt butter in pan. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes or until shallots are tender and butter just begins to brown, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the artichokes, peas, salt, and pepper; sauté 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with herbs. Serve with lemon wedges.